A post on a Ubisoft support site, might have revealed the extent of the PlayStation 5 backward compatibility’s capabilities. Needless to say, we are not impressed.
The controversial post stated that:
“Backwards compatibility will be available for supported PlayStation 4 titles, but will not be possible for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, or PlayStation games.”
Ubisoft would remove the post hours later, quite possibly at the request of Sony, who is likely to have disliked the post, and the negative press that came as a result of it.
The one area where Sony has struggled to keep up with Microsoft ( some would say that at least for the past decade they haven’t even made an attempt to catch up) is in backwards compatibility. The irony is that compatibility with older titles had been a center piece of both the PlayStation 2, and the PlayStation 3 ( at least the original models).
Sony’s back compatibility features then, were hardware enabled (so it was “real” backwards compatibility, and not emulation), and it seemed that the company had prioritized this feature, as it offered value to its loyal fan base. The PS4 did away with the feature completely, and has been a massive success for Sony in spite of this.
A big selling point for Microsoft’s Xbox Series X (and current Xbox One consoles) has been its backwards compatibility program. The Xbox One X currently enhances some old OG Xbox, and Xbox 360 games. Morrowind runs now at 60fps in full 4k glory, as does Panzer Dragon Orta for example. These improvements are “Remaster” worthy, and typically companies will charge for such enhancements.
Microsoft’s Xbox One X, however, offers these features free of charge, and the Xbox Series X will carry the tradition ( and there is suspicion that maybe some of these older games will be enhanced to the point that they will run at 120 frames per second). Phil Spencer and Microsoft have made backwards compatibility a big part of the company’s marketing strategy in order to sell its next gen console.
Sony on its part announced a “robust” backwards compatibility feature on the PlayStation 5, at least as far as PlayStation 4 games go. To be fair the company never announced that the PS5 would be compatible with older PlayStation titles.
So, Ubisoft’s suggestion (or revelation) that the PS5 can’t run PS2 and PS3 games shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it is definitely a bit of a bummer for those of us who have a vast PS1, PS2 and PS3 collection of games that have been accumulating dust on the shelf, as older systems tend to die (My PS3 suffered a terrible death).
Still, perhaps the post’s backlash might have Sony Executives reconsidering their decision to exclude pre PS4 games from the backwards compatibility service that the PS5 will offer. The fact that Sony likely complained about the post to Ubisoft – forcing the company to remove the statement – might hint that the company is still working on the feature, and perhaps will eventually offer backwards compatibility with pre PS4 games.
Microsoft’s back compatibility service isn’t perfect, this week I tried to boot up what is, perhaps, the worst western RPG (but still entertaining) ever made in Two Worlds, and the game is one of the few, that is not available in the service, but it is leagues better than any of the available options right now on either the PS4, or the Nintendo Switch.